First and foremost, we hope that you, your family, and your pets remain safe and healthy. I’m writing to keep you informed of our recommendations as well as the steps we are taking to continue offering the care your pets need while providing you and our associates a safe environment.
We are monitoring the situation closely and will continue to review our protocols and recommendations based on information from disease experts and the government (local, state and federal) to provide the best guidance and care for you and your family. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions or concerns.
We routinely disinfect our hospital and we have increased both the frequency and scope of cleaning in accordance with CDC guidelines to ensure both our clients and team members are kept safe. Similarly, hand washing hygiene has been and will continue to be critically important in our hospital. We emphasize proper hand washing technique to team members and to clients. We provide options for hand cleaning for clients and associates and we work closely with our teams to ensure that anyone who is not feeling well understands that we support them staying home.
Currently, this is our policy for all pet examinations and treatments:
- You may check your pet in by phone or by coming in alone to the front desk to let us know you are here. We can take a history over the phone and the doctor can follow up with any questions we might have.
- A team member will take your pet to our treatment area for exam and appropriate treatments. We will not be seeing patients in the exam rooms to minimize exposure between team members and clients.
- Once the doctor has examined your pet, a team member will provide you with a treatment plan for signature to authorize recommended treatment or testing.
- Appropriate care will be completed and your pet will be returned to you in your car.
What to do if you have been exposed to coronavirus or have traveled to potentially infected area recently and your pet needs care?
In order to help us continue to serve pets in need, we ask that clients who have recently traveled to a high-risk country, had an exposure to symptomatic or confirmed positive cases, or confirmed positive themselves not bring their pets in the hospital unless they are having a medical emergency. If your pet has a medical emergency that may require continued hospitalization, know that we might refer you to one of the local 24 hr care facilities. Please call us first so we can advise you and minimize your exposure to additional people.
If your pet is due for routine care (annual or semi-annual exams, vaccines, dental procedures, elective surgical procedures, nail trims or any other non- urgent appointments), please call us to discuss rescheduling to a later time. If your appointment cannot be rescheduled for medical reasons, we ask that you have a healthy family member or friend bring your pet to the visit.
Here’s what you should do if you have not been exposed and your pet is scheduled for a visit or is ill:
- If your pet is ill or scheduled for routine care, we are open and operational. Team members are here to help, but please understand that we may have limited staff due to illness or caution regarding family members leading to some staff needing to self-isolate. Our status could change quickly depending on how the situation evolves over the coming weeks.
- We are taking precautions to limit personal interaction between our staff and clients. Because our waiting area and exam rooms are smaller, we will be limiting the waiting room to only one client at a time. Please maintain at least 6 feet distance should you encounter another client or our team members.
- You can check in with the front desk and then wait in your car if you prefer or you can check in by phone and wait in your car and we will call or text you when we are ready to see your pet. We strongly recommend any client at high risk for viral illness remain in their car to limit their potential exposure if they must come to the office.
- Limit the number of people who accompany each pet to the hospital unless you are planning on remaining in your car for the entire time. We recognize this can present a challenge with children out of school, but are also cognizant that children can have less symptoms and spread the virus.
- If you need to pick up food or medications for your pet, please call and we can arrange shipping of any food or prescriptions directly to your home (home delivery).
- Use a hand sanitizer or restrooms to wash your hands.
We are working to set up other options for communication such as texting us during business hours and possibly some Telehealth service moving forward. You can order pet food and medications through our online store for home delivery. Here’s the link: https://woodlandhillsvet.vetsfirstchoice.com
Through PAL (Pet Assistance by Lory), we can also offer in-home services for clients that are interested or need this. Lory is a veterinary assistant with years of experience and has worked with many of our clients as well as those from other hospitals providing in-home lab sample collection, blood pressure checks, subcutaneous fluids, home delivery of medications and supplies and many other options. You can text or call her at: 818-743-6444 and she will give you details of services, fees, and availability. Please note: Services related to our hospital are charged separately from PAL fees.
Some questions you might have about COVID-19 and your pets:
Can dogs and cats get COVID-19? Currently there are no known cases of transmission from companion animals to humans nor any evidence that you can give the disease to your pet. The one dog that tested positive for coronavirus in Asia remained healthy throughout the quarantine. If you are ill, minimize your pet’s exposure to your secretions via tissues, sneezing and coughing on them. It is recommended that a healthy family member handle primary care responsibilities for your pet if you are ill, if possible. Common viral illnesses in dogs and cats associated with common viral and bacterial infections such as kennel cough, canine influenza, etc are not coronaviruses and not transmittable to humans.
Should my pet wear a mask? No. There is no scientific evidence that face masks protect pets from infectious diseases or air pollution. Plus masks can be frightening or uncomfortable for animals.
Should I get my pet tested for coronavirus? Based on current scientific knowledge, if your pet is healthy and unexposed, there is no need for the animal to be tested.
Resources for COVID-19 information:
We understand this is a time of great concern for many. The unknown is difficult for many of us to accept and the feeling of lack of control or “not knowing” can bring up a lot of anxiety. Pets are an important part of our families and help so many of us feel less anxiety. They are wonderfully in the moment and encourage us to be so as well–if we can follow their lead. Enjoy your time with your family (both the two and four leg varieties!) and find your peace in this time of concern. Be safe, be smart, be kind to one another as our animals are to us.
Dr. April Linson & the WHPC Team